All On a Sunday (3) — Hermannsburg

[Seven years ago, the T-Team, next generation embarked on their pilgrimage to Central Australia. Purpose: to scatter Dad’s ashes in his beloved Central Australia, in Ormiston Gorge.

Over the next few weeks, I will take you on a virtual trip to the Centre and memories of that unforgettable holiday in 2013, with my brother and his family; the T-Team Next Generation.

This time, the T-Team visit Mum T’s old stamping ground, Hermannsburg where she shares with the T-Team Next Gen memories of her childhood home.]

Mystery in Historic Hermannsburg

We checked out the old school room. Mum reminisced the terrors of teaching the fellow missionary kids who were barely younger than her. They just refused to listen or obey her. Some were constantly daydreaming and never did their lessons. Mum vowed never to teach again. She escaped this teaching fate by getting married…to Dad.

[Photo 1: Mum T and T-Team Next Gen gaze out the school room © L.M. Kling 2013]

Then the church.

‘The only time we wore shoes was for church,’ Mum said. ‘Sundays were for Sunday best.’

[Photo 2: The historic church back in the olden days © C.D. Trudinger circa 1955]

T-Tummies began to grumble and so, the T-Team Next Gen decided to head for the Precinct Café in what was once the Manse of the Hermannsburg Missionary Supervisor.

As we investigated the old rooms that had been converted into a souvenir shop and tea rooms, Mum said, ‘This is the room Dad and I stayed after we got married.’ I took a photo of Mum in that room which was now filled with souvenir clothes and hats.

[Photo 3: Mum T in her old room © L.M. Kling 2013]

Finally, Mum and I approached the counter and asked the young Arunda lady serving, if we could have a table for our party of ten.

She guided us to some tables on the porch where we could sit. Along the way, Mum mentioned to her that she used to live in the house. From that moment on, this lady could not do enough for us, making sure we had the best slices of apple strudel and helping us with the self-serve tea and coffee.

[Photo 4: The Manse and what was then, what would be, the front porch where we sat © C.D. Trudinger circa 1955]

When she had left us to serve someone else, Mum whispered to me, ‘I think she is GW’s (an elder) granddaughter.’

Later, as we were leaving to explore more of the village, she who served us ran up to us to continue the conversation with us about the Hermannsburg of old and answer any of our questions about Hermannsburg today.

[Photo 5: Hermannsburg of old—evening play in the compound © circa S.O. Gross circa 1950]
[Photo 6: Hermannsburg in 2013—building in the compound © L.M. Kling 2013]

Then, she had a question for us. ‘Have you seen or sensed any ghosts?’

We shook our collective heads. ‘No, we haven’t.’

‘Apparently, some people have seen a girl in period clothing, circa 1900. And some have seen an old man in this café. The young girl plays with my children,’ the lady who served us said.

[Photo 7: Funeral for a Mission Worker © courtesy S.O. Gross circa 1941]

I tried to think back to my previous visits to Hermannsburg. Can’t recall any ghosts then…just dreams of the olden days, way back when…And the pioneer missionaries and Afghans trekking across the desert on horses and camels.

[Photo 8: Caravan of camels starting out desert trek © S.O. Gross circa 1942]

More exploration of the Historic Precinct where Mum walked us through her childhood. First, her old home and the porch converted into a bedroom in which she slept. Now, the home is “renovated” into an art gallery. Her room fetches up to something like one thousand dollars a night for an authentic experience of yesteryear’s accommodation. To think, I did that for virtually free in the 1970’s…not her room, but…

[Photo 9: T-Team Next Genner inside Mum’s old childhood home (at last!) © L.M. Kling 2013]

Then, the “native” (as they were called back in the early 20th Century) girls’ quarters and the “native” boys’ quarters. Once upon a time, one hundred years ago, they were locked in at night, so they wouldn’t escape and get up to mischief.

[Photo 10: Meanwhile locked out and waiting to go; a re-enactment by the T-Team. Mum said that my grandpa spent “hours” in there, while his daughter, a young Mum T, hopped around the outside waiting her turn © L.M. Kling 2013]

Then the huge shed; a museum of machinery and long-forgotten technology, for butchering cattle, and tanning of kangaroo skins. Outside, my niece sat on an old tractor.

[Photo 11: On the old tractor © L.M. Kling 2013]

‘I wonder what happened to the green Mission truck?’ Mum said.

[Photo 12: Memories of the Green Mission truck. Dad T seen sitting inside © S.O. Gross circa 1955]

While the T-Team Next Gen rested at a picnic table by the morgue, and Anthony filled the water canteens, Mum shared how, as a child, she and her sisters played funerals. ‘We’d dance around the table pinching our noses.’ Apparently, back then, funerals were a regular occurrence. Mum added, ‘The most eerie experience was the wailing by the Arunda when someone died. Sent shivers down my spine.’

[Photo 13: Pastors on a mission © courtesy of S.O. Gross circa 1953]

Meanwhile Anthony battled with the nearby water pump which was situated just behind the Historic church building.

Mum glanced over and remarked, ‘Last time we visited in 2010, we were told about this competition Hermannsburg and another mission were in for who had the holiest water. Someone had drunk the water from this other mission where the water had bubbled up to the surface through the sand and was healed. So, then, Hermannsburg had to out-do this other mission and also make water with healing qualities.’

[Photo 14: Hermannsburg Historic Church © L.M. Kling 2013]

The T-Team laughed.

‘Hey, Anthony, you’re pumping holy water,’ Richard’s wife, Mrs. T called out. ‘Are you allowed to do that?’

‘It’ll be alright,’ Mum said. ‘No one’s looking.’

Anthony took a sip and frowned. ‘It tastes awful!’

‘Too salty?’ I asked.

‘Well, that’s convinced me!’ Anthony put his hands on his hips. ‘We’re going back to Alice Springs for the night.’

So, with our water containers empty, Anthony and I joined the T-Team on the return trek to Alice Springs.

‘I hope we can get a campsite at the Stuart Camping Ground,’ Anthony said.

[to be continued…]

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021

Feature Photo: Hermannsburg Historic church © C.D. Trudinger circa 1955


Virtual Travel Opportunity

For the price of a cup of coffee (takeaway, these days),

Click on the link and download your kindle copy of my travel memoir,

Trekking with the T-Team: Central Australian Safari. (Australia)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (United States)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (UK)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (Germany]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [France]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (India)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Canada]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Mexico]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Italy]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Brazil]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Spain]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Japan]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Netherlands]

5 thoughts on “All On a Sunday (3) — Hermannsburg

  1. Pingback: All On a Sunday (3) | leeannemarieblog

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